San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, the “Sistine Chapel” of Milan

San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
When entering the 16th-century church of San Maurizio, it’s impossible not to be awestruck by the number and beauty of the paintings, stuccoes and frescoes that cover every inch of its walls and ceiling.

From the outside, this 16th-century church in Corso Magenta may seem inconspicuous, however if you step inside, you’ll discover why it’s said to be the “Sistine Chapel of Milan”. The interior boasts some of the most beautiful frescoes in the city and was restored to its former glory a few years ago after a long restoration work.

Of early Christian origin (first historical mention in 823 A.D.) and located on the ruins of the Roman Circus (III-IV century A.D.), the church was rebuilt in the sixteenth century and was the seat of the most important women’s Benedectine monastery of the city. The frescoes – which occupy an area of 4 thousand square metres – were executed mainly by Renaissance painter Bernardino Luini and his students, who depicted biblical scenes from the life of Jesus and the saints. Among these, one of the most notable is the fresco of Noah’s Ark, which also features a pair of unicorns.

The church, halfway between the Duomo and the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, can be visited by entering the Civic Archaeological Museum, located inside the Monastero Maggiore (the Major Monastery). This is the starting point of every tour to discover Milan’s Roman past and its archaeological areas.

Don’t miss out on this jewel of art and architecture!